Ten Great Reasons To Take A Family Trip to Palawan

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First question, I know you are thinking – Where is Palawan?  I pretty much had that reaction when my friend Sheryl told me she took her family there for vacation.  I had stopped by her home to catch up and found her cooking Chicken Adobo a traditional Filipino dish which reminded her of her holidays. So she tells me all about Palawan while we are eating and I learn all these great reasons to take a family trip to Palawan.

Where is Palawan?

Palawan is a province in The Philippines nicknamed its last frontier.  It is a UNESCO biosphere reserve consisting of 1,780 islands. Located on the Western side of The Philippines, the islands are sandwiched between the South China Sea and the Sulu Sea.  So expect lots of water.

Islands in the Palawan Province
Image credit: Storm Crypt

Sheryl took her family to the north of Palawan.  She stayed on Busuanga Island (a direct 45 minute flight from Manila via Cebu Pacific or Philippines Airlines) at the Busuanga Bay Lodge.

Why Take A Family Trip to Palawan?

My second question was “Why Take A Family Trip to Palawan?”  I’ve been to Boracay years ago and I’ve heard of Cebu as a major tourist destination.  I had never heard of Palawan, never mind considered it as a place for a family holiday.

Clearly, I am behind in my reading.  In 2014, Conde Nast Traveller voted it the best island in the world in its Readers Choice Awards. I am a big fan of CN Traveler Readers Choice Awards for providing great options not pushed by the big names in the travel industry.  In 2013, Travel + Leisure, Palawan made its debut on the World’s Best Islands list.  These islands came out of nowhere to snatch the coveted top slots.  I bet Maui (Hawaii) and  Santorini (Greece) were mightily upset.

Lake in Coron Palawan The Philippines
Kayangan Lake, Coron, Palawan
Image credit: Bro. Jeffrey Pioquinto SJ

The reasons I found out to visit Palawan are very cool!  Here are 10 extraordinary reasons to venture out to visit this area of The Philippines. No need to leave the kids behind – take your family trip to Palawan!

1. You can go island-hopping on the local bangka boats.  Unleash your inner Robinson Crusoe on these sparsely populated islands.  With 1,780 islands to choose from, you really can tell your co-workers that you are not reachable by mobile!

2. There is great snorkelling easily accessible everywhere.  The Philippines is located in the Coral Triangle with great diversity of  marine species.  There are hundreds of types of coral and thousands of different varieties of reef fish.  It is a roughly triangular area located between The Philippines, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

3. If you are feeling more adventurous, the island of Coron is great for scuba diving. Lots of Japanese navy vessels lie sunk of the coast of these islands.  It’s been listed in Forbes Traveler Magazine as one of the world’s Top 10 diving locations. (Tip: my diving friends tell me that diving with your own computer is always preferred, a dive watch computer is small enough to bring with you while traveling).

4. The natural beauty is astounding – clear water, white sand beaches, limestone cliffs – you get the picture!

5. The El Nido Resorts are an internationally known group of eco-resorts in Palawan.  The El Nido Marine Preserve is the largest in The Philippines.  There is so much to see and do in El Nido, including exploring rain forests, beaches, limestone cliffs, marine life as well as wildlife.

6. The Puerto Princesa underground river is the world’s longest navigable underground river.  The 8.2 mile river winds its way through caves before emptying into the South China Sea.  It is a UNESCO world heritage site.

7. Calauit is an island located northwest of Busuanga.  Off the coast of Calauit you may find sea cows, dugong, an endangered species because it has been hunted for hundreds of years for meat and oil.  Related to the manatees, they live off sea grasses in the shallow water.  It is the only completely herbivorous marine mammal.

8. Calauit island is home to the Calauit Game Preserve and Wildlife National Park.  This park hosts a collection of wildlife rescued from Kenya by the Marcos’ regime in the 1970’s when Kenya was going through a drought.  As well as the local animals, the preserve also has groups of African wildlife – giraffes, gazelles, zebras, impalas etc.

A less charitable motive is that one of the Marcos’ kids wanted to go hunting without journeying too far from home.  There was also rumours that Marcos got ivory from Kenya to make statues in exchange for housing the wildlife.

9. Visit pristine white sand beaches that inspired Alex Garland to write the famous book that was turned into a Leonardo DiCaprio movie, The Beach.  Well, according to local folklore anyway.  In the book and the movie, Garland claimed the beach was Koh Phi Phi in Thailand.

10. There’s lot of entertainment to ward off boredom on both land and water.  Have fun in the water with such activities as paddle-boarding, kayaking or fishing.  Spend your days on land with pursuits such as beach-combing, rock-climbing,  hiking and, my personal favourite, general lazing on a beach with a good book.

Pandan Island
Pandan Island
Image credit: Storm Crypt

See For Yourselves – A Family Trip to Palawan

To see how gorgeous this province is, check out this short video of Sheryl’s trip to Busuanga and its island neighbours.

The video is an excerpt of a podcast I have recently done asking her about the trip.  I created the video because know you like your photos. This place is exceptionally photogenic.

To learn more details about Sheryl’s trip, including her opinion on Busuanga Bay Lodge and her daughter’s encounter with fire coral, you can listen to the full podcast on iTunes under Just Go Places Podcast.

If you are visiting Palawan and want to see more of the Philippines, check out this comprehensive guide to Philippines travel.


Palawan, Philippines is abolsoutely GOR-GE-OUS! Learn why you need to include it in your bucket list + what are the best things to do in Palawan with kids, beyond the beaches of course, with thus Palawan itinerary and all the Palawan travel tips you need for a wonderful trip to Coron with kids. #palawan #philippines #familytravel #coron
Palawan, Philippines is abolsoutely GOR-GE-OUS! Learn why you need to include it
in your bucket list + what are the best things to do in Palawan with kids, beyond
the beaches of course, with thus Palawan itinerary and all the Palawan travel tips
you need for a wonderful trip to Coron with kids. #palawan #philippines
#familytravel #coron

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4 thoughts on “Ten Great Reasons To Take A Family Trip to Palawan”

  1. My friends who have visited Palawan with their kids have raved about it. So relaxing, great beaches, and clear water. I wanted to visit Palawan with my family when we were in Manila last year but couldn’t squeeze in the extra days. Perhaps someday I’ll get there, book myself some rooms at El Nido and go snorkeling. Ahhhhhh….

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